Adobe Ideas 1.2 in Review

April 10, 2011 9:59 am

Tags: Adobe, Illustrator, iPad, iPhone, mobile, Photoshop

file_467685.jpgA Virtual Sketchbook In Your Pocket!

Creative inspiration can grab an artist's imagination at the most inopportune times. No paper? If you have an iPhone or iPad, and the Adobe Ideas 1.2 App, then there's no problem! The Adobe Ideas 1.2 App is a fun vector-based sketchbook App for iPhone and iPad. It's also a major upgrade from the previous version. Adobe Ideas 1.2 is a free download from Apple's iTunes App Store, with a "Layers" function add-on (which I highly recommend) available for under $5.

The best feature of this handy App…it turns your iPhone into a take-it-anywhere sketchbook in your pocket. Although the Adobe Ideas 1.2 App is available for both iPad and iPhone, it is better suited for the iPad, as you can utilize a stylus.

Being restricted to finger-painting was one of the downsides to using the Adobe Ideas 1.2 App on my iPhone. The bottom line: it's difficult to draw an accurate, detailed sketch without a stylus…especially if you have long fingernails, or wide fingertips (I belong to the latter category). With that said, for this review, I went the iPhone route.

As always, Adobe does provide several solutions for the above dilemma. The first: Adobe Ideas has the option to enlarge your drawing space up to nine screen-sizes of the original, simply by utilizing the zoom feature (a quick two finger movement on the screen easily reduces or enlarges your image).

The second helpful feature for making it easier to draw with an iPhone is the multiple Undo Tool (allowing you to undo, and redo, up to 50 times). Thirdly, it's especially convenient to clean up even the smallest "whoops moments" using the erase tool, which works on individual layers (another reason to purchase the additional Layers add-on).

The fourth helpful feature for iPhone finger-drawing is the ability to change the line width with the Size Tool. Lastly, if your lines are a bit wiggly as you draw, the vector-based Adobe Ideas 1.2 App has a built-in automatic line smoother.

The Adobe Ideas 1.2 Toolbar

I love an intuitive toolbar. Yet, nearly all drawing programs (including Adobe's) are renowned for their steep learning curves. What truly makes Adobe Ideas 1.2 unique is the fun-factor. Adobe has taken the frustration out of learning this tiny, but powerful App, by turning 'Learning-How-To-Draw,' into 'Just-Draw!'

The Toolbar

The Organizer has multiple functions. You can organize your "Ideas" by adding, deleting, or even duplicating images. You can also organize your "colors" by creating color themes from the Photo Color Extraction function. The Organizer is also the gateway to the "About and Settings" screen, where you can change the position of the toolbar, and accept (or decline) Adobe Usage Tracking. Located in the upper corner of the Organizer is a "new" banner. The new banner takes you to the "What's New" in Adobe Ideas 1.2, and the "purchase Layers add-on" screen.

The Hand Tool allows you to explore the image you are working on, while the "new" Move Tool allows you to actually move, rotate, and/or scale an individual layer. On the subject of moving, Adobe Ideas 1.2 now allows you (within the Organizer) to reposition the toolbar's location to either the right or left side of the screen You can even become a magician and make the toolbar vanish by tapping the X, and reappear by tapping the white tab (located on the top corner of the screen).

An important feature, especially drawing with an iPhone, is the ability to hide the toolbar

My favorite new feature has to be the Layers function. You can add up to 10 drawing layers, and one photo layer per sketch. Layers can also be controlled individually within your sketch: delete a layer, make a layer invisible, change the layer's opacity, or switch the layer order. Anyone who works in Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop will love this new feature.

With Adobe Ideas 1.2, you can easily add new layers, hide and/or delete individual layers

But wait, there's more…you can also reposition, scale, and/or rotate individual layers (Note: the Photo Layer is not "editable," but you can change the opacity). I can't imagine using Adobe Ideas without the new Layers function add-on.

Using the Photo Color Extraction feature

Next to the Layers function, my favorite feature is the Photo Color Extraction tool. The random color feature works as a "smart color picker," that automatically selects colors from a picture in your iPhone (or iPad) photo gallery. You also can manually move each of the five "picker selections circles" around your image to create a unique color palette. If the colors from your images are not exactly what you are searching for, you still have the option to use the familiar Adobe Color Palette from the toolbar.

Select from the Adobe Ideas 1.2 Photo Color Extraction color themes ~ or Adobe's Color Palette

Other New Features

One of Adobe's ongoing themes has been "ease of sharing." So, I was not surprised to discover that Adobe Ideas included VGA output as a new feature. Along with an Apple VGA adapter, VGA allows your work to be viewed, and shared, with others on a larger computer screen or projector. This seemingly small addition is a big improvement, especially for students and lecturers.

Although this is an artsy App, one of the most important new features is invisible. Adobe has amped the speed on the Adobe Ideas 1.2 App. What does this mean to the user? If you accidently close the App before saving, or exit Adobe Ideas to answer a can't-miss-phone-call, Adobe Ideas' reengineered, faster saving process, allows you to get back to sketching without loss of data.

Saving your work has never been easier: create a screengrab and save to your mobile device's photo album; use the Adobe Ideas "camera" button and save within your "Ideas Organizer" as a JPG; or email as a PDF format, that can then be opened and tweaked within Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator.

file_467687.jpgPurchasing Layers

Purchasing the Layers add-on was both frustrating and confusing. Although the Adobe Ideas 1.2 App is available from Apple's iTunes App Store as a free download … you can search for hours (which I did) on the Adobe website, or on Apple's iTunes App Store, without finding instructions on how to purchase the optional Layers add-on. I finally discovered that you can only purchase the $4.99 Layers add-on from within the Adobe Ideas 1.2 App, and of course, only after you have downloaded the Adobe Ideas 1.2 App.


With 10 fully functional Layers, an innovative color palette picker, opacity options for sketching and layers, 50 levels of undo, as well as the vector eraser … the Adobe Ideas 1.2 App provides the perfect venue to allow your imagination to soar, no matter where your creative ideas strike.

  • Official Adobe Ideas 1.2 Site
  • Adobe Ideas 1.2 App: Free Download
  • Layers add-on: $4.99 USD (can only be purchased inside the Adobe Ideas App)
  • Currently Adobe Ideas 1.2 is only available for: iPad, iPhone 3 or 4 (including the Retina display), and iPod touch. However, Adobe is considering support for additional mobile devices.

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April 11, 2011

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